The DXO One Takes on 6th Street at Night

6th Street Scene - Austin, Texas

6th Street Scene at Night – Austin, Texas

Following up on yesterday’s quick review of the DXO One, here are more night photos from 6th Street. I think you can see why I love this little camera. The 1-inch sensor in this thing really punches above its weight. The JPEGs aren’t very good, but the DNG RAWs are fantastic. For whatever reason, the color on this camera really pops with my standard post-processing in Capture One.

The title of today’s post is a play on a post called The Canon G7X Mark II Takes on 6th Street at Night from back in early January 2018. I featured photos of 6th Street a few days after I got my G7X Mark II. It’s worth a click just to compare how different the photos look between the two cameras — even though both have a 1-inch sensor.

The DXO One clearly exposes brighter, but also has better high ISO performance. I always assumed that Canon got its 1-incher from Sony, I know DXO did. But, what makes the DXO perform so much better? Did Sony sell Canon an older sensor? Or is Canon’s image processing engine not performing as well? The Canon also benefits from in-body image stabilization and I shot those photos at 1/10 of a second to maintain a low ISO. I had to since ISO 400 was only so so, and anything above didn’t look that great.

By contrast, since the DXO One doesn’t have any image stabilization, I shot between 1/30 to 1/50 of a second. Even so, I still preferred the photos from the DXO. Your tastes may be different, but I like punchy color and dynamic images. The Canon, by contrast, is more moody and dark.

6th Street Scene at Night - Austin, Texas

This is the same building as the first photo. You lose the neon but I like the warm lights that frame the windows. There’s a nice glow to the image that the Canon doesn’t have. And, I got these colors really easily, without much fiddling in post.

6th Street Scene at Night - Austin, Texas
6th Street Scene at Night - Austin, Texas

Astute followers might notice that I made these photos on different days. Two different nights actually — one on a deserted Sunday and the other on a lively Friday, during SXSW.

6th Street Scene at Night - Austin, Texas
6th Street Scene at Night - Austin, Texas

As I mentioned yesterday, I prefer shooting the DXO in a vertical, portrait orientation. The attached camera is more stable that way and less unwieldily. Portrait for the Ritz is an obvious composition, however, the window, less so. I would normally shoot this in landscape but this orientation makes me see things differently.

6th Street Scene at Night - Austin, Texas

Under certain conditions, especially with less aggressive post-processing, even ISO 2000 looks pretty good. This photo from Maggie Mae’s is the only one that I processed extensively, further boosting the color, shadows and applying noise reduction with Topaz software.

I have nearly the same framing on that Canon G7X Mark II post, that you should compare. Neither image is better, I guess. It depends on your taste. Do you like subdued or boosted? I suppose it also depends on the subject.

6th Street Scene at Night - Austin, Texas

I think you tell why I’m impressed with this little camera. As an attachment to an iPhone, it makes quality pictures not possible with a smartphone. It’s simple physics, the sensor is about 4.5X to 7X larger than a typical smartphone.

Would I pay the original $600 list price for the DXO? Probably not. For all its great image quality, its handling is poor and shooting with it is slower than a typical camera. Plus, the battery life is short. However, used in a methodical way, it makes for an excellent take-anywhere companion to the phone.

I’m, of course, thrilled because I only paid $80 for this. It’s probably the highest price to picture-quality ratio I got from any camera. I’ve brought it with me to parties where taking a larger camera would be awkward. I can easily slip the DXO One and the iPhone in my pants pocket for a very portable high-quality shooting.

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